By Sabrina Bartels
During this week, about six years ago, I began my journey towards becoming a school counselor. It’s been amusing looking through my Facebook memories from the past few weeks and reading my 2011 statuses.
“Can’t believe I start grad school tomorrow! First time in four years that I am on Marquette’s campus and not going to Johnston Hall for a class.”
“First grad school class, check!”
“First week and I’m already procrastinating. Yikes!”
And then my statuses continue throughout the next few years. Here are just a few highlights from the past six years:
- Getting through the first semester of grad school. I always think the first semester is one of the hardest. You are still trying to get your feet under you, trying to figure out what kind of counselor you want to be, who your teachers are, and what they expect. It was such a comfort to know the campus already, but that can also make for quite a stressful first semester!
- Passing the Praxis (because let’s be honest, that was probably the hardest thing about grad school! I still have nightmares about that exam …)
- Finishing my internships. I had so much fun on my internships. I really think that doing the internships is one of the most beneficial things you can do when studying to be a school counselor. I would recommend participating in internships in a wide range of ages (elementary, middle, and high school) since each experience is very unique. Many elementary schools have school counselors teaching social and emotional learning (SEL), so you can help shape young minds with this curriculum. At a middle school, you’ll get experience with mediating conflict, the importance of self-esteem, and bullying. When you intern with high school, you get to dabble with writing recommendations, helping with college applications, and getting swept up in the world of financial aid.
- Graduating! At the end of two years, it was so much fun being able to celebrate with my friends and family. It was a tough road, but one that was definitely worth it!
- Getting a job. Fun fact: my school district called me the Monday morning after my graduation to offer me a job. I remember thinking that I was still dreaming! Never in my life did I expect things would happen so quickly.
- Enjoying my first three years as a counselor. I have had a lot of adventures the past two years. In addition to all the great things I’ve been able to experience involving my education and career, I’ve also been able to celebrate a lot of personal accomplishments: getting married, buying a house, learning how to cook without burning whatever I was trying to make, and drafting my first fantasy football team. But out of all of these great milestones in my life, I have to say that my favorite memories from the past six years involve my days as a counselor. I have learned a lot. I’ve grown a lot. I’ve made some mistakes; I’ve had some triumphs. Each day has taught me something new about human nature, about the education system, about love and loss and perseverance. I would never trade these experiences. I am so excited for year 4 and all of the wonderful adventures it has to offer!
This will also mark my sixth year of blogging! This has been such an incredible experience, to track my journey from when I first started grad school to being a full-fledged counselor. I am so thankful for everyone who has gone on this journey with me.